It was an emotional night for Caron Butler. The former Maverick received his NBA championship ring in a grand return to Dallas on Monday, but his last-second game-winner fell short in the end as the Los Angeles Clippers fell to the defending NBA champions, 96-92.
Dirk Nowitzki spoiled Butler’s homecoming at American Airlines Center, scoring 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter while converting shots when the Mavs needed them most, including a clutch 19-footer from the right wing at extended Dallas’ lead to three, 92-89, with 41 seconds to go. Chris Paul’s (16 points, nine assists) 3-pointer after Dallas’ Shawn Marion’s (16 points) free throws pulled the Clippers within two points, 94-92, but Butler’s 3-pointer from the right wing caromed off the rim with 4.5 seconds remaining as the Mavs held on for the victory.
Butler scored a season-high 23 points and did all he could to beat his former club, but he faltered when it mattered. The Clippers finished their six-game road trip with a 4-2 record and are left to ponder how they left one slip away. Blake Griffin had 20 points and seven rebounds, including an emphatic alley-oop in the second quarter, but struggled from the free throw line missing 7-of-9 foul shots. Los Angeles hasn’t defeated the Mavericks in Dallas since April 19, 2006. (Photo)